Where Are They Now? Checking in On Former Phillies Prospects That Have Been Traded Away

By Cody Swartz

In recent years, the Philadelphia Phillies have exhausted some of the top talent from their minor league system to acquire standout players like Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, and Hunter Pence.

Jonathan Singleton was the Ryan Howard clone who was sent to the Houston Astros last year in a deal that brought Pence to Philadelphia. Singleton is tearing it up in Double-A, as he has posted a .306/.414/.565 slash line for the Corpus Christi, plus 11 home runs and 38 RBIs in just 220 plate appearances. Singleton is still just 20 years old, he’s a left-handed hitter, and he was rated before the season as the 34th best prospect in the game, according to Baseball America. Simply put, he’s the kind of guy the Phillies are really going to miss.

Jarred Cosart was formerly one of the Baby Aces in Clearwater, and he was shipped to Houston in the deal as well. Cosart is in Double-A as well, and he is 3-3 with a 4.09 ERA in eight starts. His numbers aren’t nearly as good, but he’s still a top 50 prospect that strikes out a decent amount of hitters. Cosart is still just 22 years old.

Kyle Drabek was sent to Toronto in the Halladay deal. He has twice been rated as a top 50 prospect, although he is struggling with the major league Blue Jays. Drabek is 4-6 with a 4.65 ERA in 11 starts, and he is leading the American League in wild pitches (7), while walking hitters at a rate of 6.0 per nine innings. Drabek was awful in Triple-A last year, posting a 5-4 record and 7.44 ERA in 15 starts, seeing his hit rate nearly double, his walks rise, and his strikeouts drop significantly. As of now, the Jays have to be concerned with the progress (or lack thereof) that they are seeing from Drabek.

Michael Taylor was a five-tool outfielder who was shipped to the Blue Jays, and then immediately sent to Oakland. Taylor just made his 2012 major league debut the other day, and is just a .196 career hitter in 51 big league plate appearances. He is playing very well in Triple-A, where he is hitting .322 with a .420 on-base percentage, but Taylor is 26 years old already. Losing him may not have been a deal for the Phillies.

Travis d’Arnaud was a big loss, as the 22-year old is tearing it up in Triple-A for the Blue Jays, and will likely get promoted soon. He has a 10-game hitting streak in the minors, and is hitting .465 during that stretch. For the season, d’Arnaud is at .322/.377/.579 with 12 home runs and 36 RBIs in 223 plate appearances. He was the 17th rated prospect in the game before the season and he should have a very fine major league career.

J.A. Happ had a promising season for the Phillies in 2009, going 12-4 with a 2.93 ERA before the team shipped him to Houston midway through ’10 in a package deal that brought the Phillies Oswalt. Happ really struggled in 2011, going 6-15 with a 5.35 ERA in 28 starts, and walking an awful 4.8 batters per nine innings. Happ has improved so far in 2012, as he is 4-5 with a 4.31 ERA in 11 starts, and his strikeout rate is up to over one batter per inning. The jury is still out on Happ, but considering he is on a lowly Houston team, he will be given all the time in the world to prove that he is either a good pitcher or a bust.

Anthony Gose was an outfielder sent over in the Oswalt trade, and he was rated as the 39th best prospect in the game before this season. He is hitting .302 with 24 stolen bases in Triple-A, and he should assuredly get a promotion soon. He is primarily a center fielder who also fills in at left field when needed. Gose would have been a good player for the Phillies, especially if the team loses Shane Victorino after the season in free agency.

Jonathan Villar was the final player sent over in the Oswalt deal. He is a shortstop currently playing for the Double-A Corpus Christi team. Villar was rated as a top 100 prospect before the 2011 season, although his stock has dropped since and he is hitting just .251 with two home runs in 219 plate appearances at the Triple-A level. Villar has good speed, as evidenced by his 22 steals, and he could be a solid player for the Astros in the future.

In all, the deals actually aren’t too bad – the Phillies have gotten stability in the pitching rotation from Halladay and Oswalt (more so from Halladay, as Oswalt only started about a season’s worth of games for the team), and Pence is a solid right-handed hitter who has been to two All-Star teams in his career. The deals will ultimately be judged after the careers of every prospect is over, but if the Phillies win a World Series with Halladay and Pence, there’s almost no way it wasn’t worth it to the team.

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